Friday, September 30, 2011

Kitchen hearth part 3

Replacing the lintel
Getting the brick columns set
Laying up the back brick
Back brick layed up and scratch coat on plaster
Masking off crack for final filling after injecting with epoxy bonder

Kitchen hearth part 2

We also found the throat on the smoke shelf mostly it's place was a pile of rough old cement fallen from upper courses lain long ago. We used the remnant as a model and cast a new throat block, and cleaned out the old mortar.

the cleaned off smoke shelf without throat block

Kitchen hearth part 1

Water intrusion, from leaky flashing perhaps, led to the 'jacking' of the lintel, the severe rusting of the angle iron spanning the fireplace opening. Brick columns on either side are collapsing...

We also will repair some exfoliation at the back of the fireplace.

We also want to patch this crack across the mantle.
While we're at it, we'll scrape down the blistered efflorescence on the walls above, patch and repaint the wall for a facelift on the whole panel.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A giant pine has died and left behind an eventual rotting hulk of randomly falling heavy wood pieces. With winter afoot we decided to get the biggg limbs off and reduce wind drag.
The climber/cutter uses a bull rope and a tag rope and a ground crew to remove and lower limbs

for safely hauling away or cutting up for firewood.

Eye of a needle

A step railing detail we'd like to replicate here and there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Room with no name

"Room 5" just doesn't capture the ambience of this sun-washed, granite tile floored chamber in the greenhouse. I solicit your suggestions. I spent an hour or so in here today tending the plants, especially the heartleaf philodendrons in the hanging holder on the wall. It had been hanging down and trailing along the bench. Today I decided to place some brass hooks up on the rafter above that is in the plane of the wall.
 What do you think? I think it's a slightly less cluttered look, and it allows room for a colorful geranium on the bench below. The idea would be to continue training the plant to vine along the rafter up & down and then let it cascade gently over the wall . It's actually too hot and sunny of a room for this plant, but that goes for most of the other plants in here as well. There's just no where else to put them and still have them in the greenhouse. The split leaf monstrosa philodendrons flanking the heartleaf feel the same way...and yet they reportedly don't like being moved. So I think I'm going to opt for adding some form of shade screen either to the south facing window wall or the glazed ceiling, which already has curtains sheilding some of the solar gain. For a look at the other end of the "room in need of a moniker":

Two ficus trees, a sago palm and on a pedestal behind the sago, a goldfish plant. On the right in the foreground is a string of hearts nesting on a wall-mounted wooden box that conceals the temp/humidity sensors and air circ. fan.  There's also a cushioned wicker chair and an antique dutch table with a wicker stool furnishing the room. So, I invite your ideas for a well-fitted name for this space and an opinion or two regarding the feng shui (or as one friend calls it, sinn fein ;)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Leaving a light on for you.

Sixteen little pieces of glass carefully removed,cleaned and replaced for the crystalline shine to come through.
Three more of these lanterns to go and all five will have been tuned up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memoriam

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.

Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seem'd my sin in me;
What seem'd my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The tea trees have overgrown the entry wall and the clematis vine has overgrown the tea trees. The tea tree boughs extend 10 feet into the driveway area and are supported by what J calls "mercy sticks". The clematis vine is slowing killing the large tea tree at the entry gate, smothering it from above.
Behind the overhanging boughs, the stone wall is covered with years of road grime and mold.

After cutting back the tree branches and removing the mercy sticks, the wall appears very grungy.

Powerwashing was required to blast off the accumulation of crud.

Pulling down the clematis reveals the damage done to the upper boughs of the tea tree, but I'm hoping that the increased light and decreased weight will promote new greenery and next spring I'll do some selective pruning to remove deadwood. The clematis will regrow and be trained along the top of the wall going towards the left in the photo above.

A Finished Project

The last of the windows and doors has been refinished. What a great feeling to get to the end of a large project that has been overdue.
The teak had been weathered dull and lifeless. After sanding, the beauty of the wood popped right back out from hiding just under the surface. Scraping the muntins was a tedious, exacting procedure requiring care to not scratch the glass. A special tool was fashioned to fit the irregular profile of the muntins. 

Then the 'teak oil' goes on and there's a very nice payoff in appearance and the knowledge that these 90 year old doors and windows are equipped to face a few more winters of coastal weather. As we worked, rusted hinges were oiled, missing mouldings replaced, repairs to rot or bug damage were made, nails reset, leaks inventory of lesser items for future work orders. The successful accomplishment of a lengthy project like this adds a little incentive for me to do these finishing touches, kind of like icing on the cake.
Special mention goes to Peter, who soldiered on with this project for weeks until completion, doing a first rate job. Thank you, Peter. Without your help, it wouldn't have gotten finished for who knows how long!

Thursday, September 1, 2011